With a conscious effort to stray away from superheroes, author Grant Morrison is taking even more chances than usual in the comics world. Even Multiversity, his only DC Comics project at the moment is bending the traditional superhero narrative into the world of psychadelics. Annihilator from the Legendary Comics imprint is a great example of taking chances, spinning the expectations of critics, and defying genre. In the same vein as Annihilator, The Filth, and 2012’s Happy! mini-series comes a comic entitled Nameless. A few outlets have drawn some comparisons between Annihilator and Nameless in that they are similar stories with different tones and ideas melded by each artist. The script for Nameless in particular seems tailored for Author Chris Burnham’s special brand of lunacy.
With an immoral character being introduced to a world he never knew existed, could this comic be carrying too many ideas echoed in Morrison’s other comics work?
Any tale by the author is nearly impossible to summarize in one paragraph, but this one involves an action story heavily influenced by the writer’s previous works with a certain sinister corporation (more on that later.) There is an explanation into strange and obtrusive words belonging to alien species littered throughout the issue. The rest of the plot gets even more funky, that’s where Image’s solicitation text is going to come in handy:
An astronomer kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning.
A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares.
An occult hustler known only as ‘Nameless’ is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission.
And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth.
But nothing is what it seems—a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin.
Abandon all hope and experience ultimate horror in NAMELESS.
Whew, did you catch all of the in the first issue?
In many ways, the organization in this comic is a mirror reflecting Spyral, created by Morrison on his Batman tenure at DC Comics with Burnham. Visual cues and themes from that story are present here. It’s hard to deny that this issue isn’t fun and will likely turn into something unique provided the creative continue to work on the story. Still, it’s hard not to get a slight feeling of repetition from Morrison and company after work like The Invisibles and Annihilator reflect similar shades of this premise.
Burnham’s art in this comic can be described here as visceral. Fans will buy into the plight of everything that’s happening in this frenetic comic. At times it’s hard to understand exactly where this story is going, and what’s actually on the page. Also, the way that these pages are laid out in this issue is stirring. One page in particular shows Burnham’s maturation as an artist, as he’s taking some risks with layouts in this issue that are more than commendable. The fact that we can buy into the everyman perception of this hero, while intense dark sci-fi is going on in the background is a testament to the quality of the craft. Nathan Fairbairn is an important piece of the equation, and a rising talent that makes it easier for readers to pick out the mind-melding ideas of Nameless.
Not everything needs to be absolutely understood in a Grant Morrison comic, but enough information has to be absorbed for fans to be interested in where the story is going next. It’s interesting to see what the team can do without the constraints of DC Comics, yet still there’s not quite enough for fans to sink their teeth into to force them to run out to comic shops and grab the next issue. There’s something special in regards to getting a tale from the famed writer that is more action packed yet still contains his immense ration of ideas to page. The author’s style may be more versatile than we could have ever thought.
While Nameless is an interesting beast, it’s not something that can quite rise above the immense amount of content from Image comics. However, this comic still contains an immense amount of great ideas worth celebrating. Fans hesitant about this story should keep an eye on what the critics say, as it could be just a few feet away from tipping into greatness.